Better way to boost morale
text size

Better way to boost morale

The new "Cops Combat" martial arts competition of the Royal Thai Police may have drawn criticism for potentially undermining the chain of command. Yet, the competition, which promises to be a "test of valour beyond the badge", is a good start as the RTP is acknowledging problems of morale on the ground.

The martial arts competition is a new event added by the RTP to its annual sporting event. The tournament, which will take place on Tuesday at the Rajadamnern boxing stadium in Bangkok has drawn brickbats and bouquets.

The brouhaha has arisen from the slogan that the RTP is using to create excitement and popularity for the event: "In the ring, there is no rank, just bodies and hearts".

The slogan was posted on the RTP's Facebook page. It promises "a day where titles and ranks are dissolved, giving way to sheer courage and physical endurance".

With reports of internal conflict among policemen, the "Cops Combat" event is inevitably being perceived as an emotional outlet for rank-and-file officers to vent their anger against their bosses.

Some officers have disagreed with the event, fearing the fights will severely undermine the chain of command. Pol Col Pattawee Konwimon, superintendent of Nonsa-at Police in Udon Thani and a martial arts expert, opposed holding the competition, saying it might lead to an unhealthy working environment. "If a superior picks up the gauntlet and loses the fight, it may negatively affect ... the working environment as a whole."

The event is indeed an effort by RTP executives to boost the morale of over 200,000 police officers. The force has suffered from internal conflicts and deteriorating public trust like never before. Attempts to reform the police that started 17 years ago have rarely made inroads.

There are other things that the RTP can do right away to improve working conditions and boost the morale of its police officers.

For example, the government and the RTP can improve the facilities of police stations and police flats. It is no exaggeration to say that some police flats, such as the ones in the Samyan area, resemble buildings found in slums.

Past governments spent money building flats and new infrastructure. Yet, many projects faced allegations of corruption. Therefore, the government and the RTP must ensure that all construction is transparent so all the money will be spent improving the work and living conditions of our law enforcement agents.

The RTP needs to expand counselling services for policemen and give treatment or rest time to police officers with mental health problems so they can recuperate.

This needs to be said as a policeman in Bang Ban district of Ayutthaya committed suicide at a police flat on Monday. Last month, a policeman in Sukhothai province also took his own life due to stress-related issues stemming from a perceived unfair transfer.

There have also been reports of depressed policemen snapping in public and harming others or even themselves as a result. Since 2019, some 168 police officers, mostly rank-and-file, are known to have taken their own lives, while hundreds more have self-harmed.

Apart from exciting sporting events and promises of better infrastructure, our policemen need better treatment on the psychological side, too. Never forget that police officers are on the frontlines of our justice system. They need support to better serve society.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email :

Do you like the content of this article?